Looking Back on September 15th Chapter Meeting and Guest Nite
(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week at an Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter meeting. —Ye Ed.)
(Many thanks to Alan Wile with input from Terry Jordan for gathering the news from Tuesday nite. As many of you know, YeEd had to take off as I got a call that my Mom has passed away in IL. She went peacefully and Pat and I were in IL by Wed nite. I will tell you more later. Thanks too for Terry and Dick and others who put all the goodies away. Sounds like Tuesday was another great Harmonizer nite.)
Harmonizers began arriving and setting things up at the Durant Center at 6:00 p.m. Membership VP, Dan O’Brien put out all sorts of materials (including some attractive folders with music and informational items) in anticipation of a great guest night turnout. Jack Pitzer and others arranged an overwhelming amount of snack and drink items. John Pence and Bill Stewart attacked the risers, in an on-going attempt to make them “squeakless.” Bob Rhome and a host of others set up risers and arranged chairs. Chapter Archivist Bob Blair put together a wonderful historical display for all to enjoy. Chuck McKeever worked with a number of guys on their choreography on the stage. Dan-O and his team greeted and registered guests as they began to arrive. Scott Kahler and Dennis Ritchey set up the sound system and Terry Reynolds readied the projector and screen to display music … when needed. Whew! Durant was really buzzing with activity and good vibes!
At 7:00 or thereabouts the call went out to “take the risers.” Assistant Director Tony Colosimo conducted a vocal warm-up for the assembled members and guests, who were arranged in sections. In turn, he introduced Director Joe Cerutti. Joe welcomed all and explained that we would ALL learn a couple of new songs (rather than work songs already in the Harmonizer repertoire). Charts for the two songs (“I Love To Hear Those Songs” and “Mary Had A Little Lamb”) was passed to the Harmonizers (guests had received it already in their folders) and then we began. Joe worked notes first, then quality, and then interpretation. Truth be told, the result was pretty impressive. Before the break, Presentation guru Gary Plaag taught the moves to the “swing” portion of one of our new songs, “It Don’t Mean A Thing,” to the entire group. That the guests learned it as quickly as the old-timers was a tribute to the quality, interest, and ability of our guests! What a pleasure!! Also, at some point, Joe taught and directed the tag to “Great Day” -- which, ultimately, made the walls resound!
During the break Dan-O introduced the guests. By actual count there were 33 male guests and 10-12 women (some related to Harmonizers … some not). Included were several members of the Pride Of Baltimore SAI Chorus, Catherine Davies from Chorus America, at least six former Harmonizers (Bruce Roehm, Bob Braunstein, Pat Duffy, Barry Galloway, Lynn Dangelmaier, and Steve Guy), one guest from the St. Charles Chapter sporting a gold international champion chorus medal, Bud Arberg’s son Bob, and several guys who have visited with us over the last few weeks, for a total in the room of 125.
Chapter Secretary Chris Buechler presented three members with their renewed membership cards and a 25-year pin to Ken Fess. Catherine Davies spoke to us briefly about Chorus America. VP Ops Mark Klostermeyer (K-12) announced those members celebrating birthdays this week and reminded us all of the special/extra rehearsal on Thursday, September 17th, at the Jefferson-Houston School (next door to the Durant Center). Also, he reminded us of the rehearsal and show at the Pentagon Center Ritz Carlton next Thursday (September 24th) and urged all to sign up ASAP. Note was made that three members (Tom Kraus, Phil Ferguson, and Brian Miller) were recently married (not to each other).
Following the longer than usual break (to permit us to mingle, meet, and talk with guests) the guests were invited to move to another room where Tony Colosimo taught them a tag. During this time, Mark K-12 conducted the business part of the meeting and Will Cox rehearsed one of the songs we were to perform for our guests later in the evening. Joe Cerutti also conducted some brief drills on the other songs.
The guests returned and performed for us -- to wildly enthusiastic applause. They really did a great job. Then it was our turn, and 73 of us performed “Clap Yo Hands,” “Music Of The Night,” and “New York, New York.” In acknowledging that the official name of the Society includes the word “quartet,” “DOWN A FOURTH,” a chapter quartet with Joe Sawyer (T), Joe Cerutti (L), Wayne Adams (Ba), and Mike Kelly (Bs), was introduced and sang one song.
The guests were then invited to rejoin the chorus on the risers. Together we sang through the two new songs, learned the choreography to the “Great Day” tag (demonstrated by Chuck McKeever and Gary Plaag), and mastered another tag (taught by Joe). “Peg” took the mic and invited us and all our women friends to attend the Pride Of Baltimore Chorus guest night on Monday, November 16th. The night concluded with us all singing “Keep The Whole World Singing,” with Peg doing directing honors.
The evening was just great and didn’t vary very much from our usual routine. Joe kept things varied, interesting, fun … and nearly unpredictable.
Until next time – editorjack!